The Volvo Trucks Driver Challenge 2012 got underway on February 6th. The event, which takes place over a five-month period, measures and assesses individual driver’s techniques. These techniques are the basis for a professional driver to achieve optimum fuel economy and uptime from their vehicle.
A major difference for this year’s event is the use of FM instead of FH tractor units. Fleet size has also been increased from five to six. Moving to FM tractor units means that it has been possible to specify the high torque, driver-friendly and fuel-efficient D11C 11-litre engine, in this case, at its top power rating of 450hp. Around 120 drivers are expected to take part in the competition this year and operator interest is already high.
According to Volvo Trucks’ Managing Director Göran Nyberg. the Volvo Trucks Driver Challenge 2012’s focus on driver technique is crucial to delivering much more than excellent fuel economy: “Using driving techniques that improve fuel consumption also results in vehicles having less impact on the environment as well as potentially reducing operating costs in terms of unscheduled maintenance and repairs. That uptime can be optimised and even improved by using driving techniques that deliver improved fuel economy is an established fact. Utilising good driver techniques is incontrovertibly good for our customers, their customers and drivers of our vehicles.”
Drivers at participating operators will use one of the identically specified and equipped FM-450s with their company’s own trailers, on their normal duties and at the running weights dictated by their delivery schedules. Because of the huge number of variables in the circumstances in which the trucks will operate, fuel economy itself will not be scored during the initial round of the Volvo Trucks Driver Challenge 2012 competition.
Each driver taking part will be scored against fifteen driving techniques recorded by the vehicles’ Dynafleet telematics systems. These included coasting, engine load, time spent in top gear and engine idling.
However, because the conditions on the day can be rigorously controlled, the Final of the Volvo Trucks Driver Challenge 2012 will, as in 2011, be a fuel economy competition with up to ten finalists competing to win the magnificent trophy.